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Flanders A Guide For Groups


VISITORS’ CENTRE

Quality, authenticity, natural ingredients and above all a never-ending passion for biscuits. In 1886 when Jules Destrooper set up his biscuit company that bears the same name, he could never have imagined that more than 130 years later, gourmets from more than 75 different countries would be fans of these biscuits. In our visitors’ centre, you can wander, quite literally, through the rich history of the world- famous biscuits from West Flanders. Plus, you can learn an enormous amount about how the Biscuiterie Destrooper bakes its refined biscuits today. During your visit a detailed explanation is given, and of course you will have the opportunity to sample lots of products during the programme.

Open

From Thursdays till Saturdays from 09h30 to 12h30 and from 13h30 to 17h30 Last entrance one hour before closing-time! Please note there is no production on Saturdays

Closed Entrance fee

Closed on Sunday, public holidays on Monday and from 24/12/2018 to 01/01/2019 Adult (€ 5) Children < 12 years (€ 3) Children < 6 years (free) Admission prices are valid until 31/12/2018

Individual visit Groups

A guide on request - extra 35 € From 20 to 70 persons - on reservation > free guide ! bus driver and groups responsible: free entrance Groups of 50 persons or more: extra free entrance

Schools Local info

1 € discount per student - teachers are free Tourist office Lo - Reninge (info@lauka.be - 0032 58 289166)

Adress Gravestraat 5, 8647 Lo • Tel. 0032 58 28 09 33 • Website www.jules-destrooper.com • E-mail bezoekerscentrum@julesdestrooper.com


Foreward Flat out for Flanders. Andrew Daines, VisitFlanders director for UK and Ireland, says there’s so much for groups to see and do in the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium, it’ll take hundreds of years to do it justice.

In the fieenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Flanders was home to some of the world’s greatest and most pioneering artists. People like Peter Paul Rubens, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Jan van Eyck did not simply make an impact on the world of art, they le a lasting legacy on the region of Flanders – and lots for us to enjoy today.

still sound e Last Post under the majestic arch of the Menin Gate each night at eight o’clock, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission gardeners will continue to tend to the hundreds of cemeteries, the volunteers at Talbot House in Poperinge will still offer a cup of tea and a friendly welcome to visitors, just as has been the case since this “every man’s” club first opened its doors in December 1915. 1919 was the year that the first ‘battlefield tours’ took place – including those organised by omas Cook – as the bereaved travelled to visit the graves of their loved ones, and in 2019, visitors will continue to have a full and enriching experience when visiting Flanders Fields.

In 2018, VisitFlanders launched its ambitious three year programme Flemish Masters, putting a spotlight on golden age of Flemish Art with a plethora of special events and exhibitions, beginning with ‘Antwerp Baroque, Rubens Inspires’. In 2019, the focus turns to Bruegel, when, on the 450th anniversary of his death, there will be special happenings in both Brussels and in Antwerp, but also, in the Flemish countryside and within the locations that have become iconic through Bruegel’s work. ese include the exhibition ‘Feast of Fools’ at the stunning Gaasbeek Castle. Set in glorious grounds, including a meticulously manicured walled fruit garden, this fairy-tale castle is a fantastic location for group visits, just 10 miles to the south-west of Brussels. Elsewhere within the 2019 programme, the open-air museum Bokrijk, near to the city of Genk in the province of Limburg, will offer ‘e World of Bruegel’ from April 2019. is 550 acre site, which contains 120 historic buildings in a multitude of landscapes, will bring various aspects of the artist’s work to life in a stimulating way.

One of the great things about Flanders is that there’s always something new to discover. Recent openings include DIVA, a brandnew diamond experience attraction, located, appropriately, in the world’s diamond capital, Antwerp. Diamonds were clearly an inspiration for the Zara Hadid-designed Port House, a stunning addition to the Antwerp skyline (tours for groups are available). Just down the road, Mechelen has opened the doors to the refurbished Hof van Busleyden, a majestic Renaissance palace, now housing a state-of-the-art museum showcasing the fascinating Burgundian history of the city. Our rich history, stunning architecture, fabulous food and drink, easy access and of course our warm welcome to UK group visitors – continue to be some of the great reasons that visitors love Flanders. Wherever in our region you find yourself, you can be sure of a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

During the centenary of the First World War, we’ve welcomed thousands of group visitors to this unique, historic part of Flanders. But whilst the centenary spotlight will no longer be present, the commemoration of the sacrifices made during WWI never end in Flanders Fields. e volunteer buglers of the Ypres Fire Service will

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Contents PAGE 6

GETTING THERE PAGE 8 THE COAST PANNES OUT NICELY PAGE12 BRUGES PAGE14 GHENT, LOCHRISTI AND BEERVELDE PARK PAGE16 DENDERMONDE AND ANTWERP

PAGE 19 TURNHOUT, HASSELT AND GENK PAGE 20 LEUVEN AND MECHELEN PAGE 21 BRUSSELS PAGE 26 OUDENAARDE, ROESELARE HAS A BEER CASTLE AND THE BATTLEFIELDS PAGE 28 HEUVELLAND AND TALBOT HOUSE PAGE 30 GETTING BACK TO BLIGHTY

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Getting there Groups getting to Flanders have never had it so good. Not so long ago, travel options might have involved being split up at England’s Southend, only to be reunited in Flanders’ Ostend.

For getting to Flanders, DFDS ply Dover to Calais with frequent sailings. It’s the shorter sea route, with a few more miles of Pays de Calais countryside on arrival. Our group decided that it wasn’t for them. e haze of Gauloise, the smell of the burning lamb carcasses, the striking public servants, and the missiles thrown by disgruntled scallop fishermen, all mitigated against spending more time than necessary in France. We’ve opted for the crossing to Dunkirk. A few more miles at sea, but we arrived no more than a fair march from the border. Why, we thought, involve the shoulder-shrugging onion munchers, when for the want of a turn le and a short cruise up the A16, there’s another country waiting to welcome us with better breath, better chips and better chocolate. It’s Flanders, and with so much that’s just like home, to go with everything that’s so uniquely Flemish, we’ve jumped on the Dunkirk crossing, and just as soon as the vehicle ramp is down, we’re on our way, flat out to Flanders.

If your memory is as long as the handlebars on Colonel Trevor’s moustache, you’ll still be able to picture the Bristol Superfreighters taking off from the Essex airport, bound for Ostend, laden with private cars and passengers (well, three of the former and twenty of the latter). British United Air Ferries, the uniquely bulldog solution to crossing e Channel, flew long before the Beatles had their first hit until long aer Wham had their last. “Well, the Bristols had long since been retired by then,” says Trevor, who’s dress sense is more Sergeant Pepper than Andrew Ridgeley. He rather fancies himself as a Lancaster pilot, but we know he was cabin crew on a Caravelle, long before he was among our travelling companions on this trip to Flanders. We’re not up in the air, however. We’re making our way at sea level on the DFDS Del Seaways, a vessel with a hold easily big enough to contain that old flying stalwart of cross-Channel travel, and a squadron from Bomber Command, with room leover for the colonel’s facial adornments. “I wish those old Bristols had been as smooth as these ships,” adds Trevor. Well, flying might be a moot point - at least to the Flemish coast. e collapse on the first day of September of VLM - the Flanders based airline - has put paid to their Ostend flights from Manchester and London City, but there are still plenty of travel options to reach the Flemish-speaking, Englishunderstanding northern half of Belgium. Aer our sojourn we’ll be returning by way of the EuroTunnel of love. For outwards though, we’re flirting with the waves of the English Channel, and cutting through the choppy waters on one of the biggest vessels in the fleet of one of northern Europe’s biggest ferry operators. Apart from the Channel routes, DFDS take to the Atlantic on their Newhaven to Dieppe route; brave the North Sea from Newcastle to Amsterdam; and crisscross the Baltic with a variety of services.

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The coast pannes out nicely Cross the border, change down through the gears and come to a halt in the pretty little time-capsule of a resort named De Panne. First stop for our fantastical tour of Flanders, the most westerly settlement on the Flanders coast. It also happens to be the one with the widest beach.

houses. A world famous cartoon exhibition and an equally impressive fireworks festival are the highlights of the summer season. Heist is anything but down at heel, and your group will delight in exploring both towns. ere are literally a quizzilion things to do on the coast, each as tourist group friendly as the next. You might like to check out the promotional pass for a few more ideas (kustpas.be).

Watch out for horses. De Panne’s rolling sands are a popular bridleway. ey also host sand yachts, sand sculptures, and parents buried in the sand by children who’ve forgotten all about them and le them to drown, be run over, or tramped to death, probably. e town is adjacent to De Westhoek nature reserve, 340ha of pristine greenery and dunes. Check out the wildlife too in the Dumont district, with its typical cottage style houses and boutiques. You can’t miss King Leopold’s statue either the framing arch can be seen from almost anywhere in town.

INLAND TO BEAUVOORDE CASTLE Just before jumping on the tram, take a short trip inland to the seventeenth-century Beauvoorde Castle. is residential chateau was restored much more recently by a young aristocrat named Arthur Merghelynck (and good luck pronouncing that). e four-storey, moated château is situated in the charming village of Wulveringem, not far from Veurne, a town of 10,000 people and well worth a visit for its bakery museum (this page is scratch and sniff, if you want to experience the unique baking aroma right now). Merghelynck - or Arthur to his mates and everyone else without a degree in Dutch - filled the house with a superb collection of furniture and works of art. He also developed the estate grounds to create a stunning new park. It’s been here ever since, as dictated by the terms of his will. Arrange ahead for an English speaking guide (kasteelbeauvoorde.be/en). We lied about the scratch and sniff … but you tried anyway, didn’t you?

KUSTTRAM Park the bus in one of the designated spots around De Panne, and get on the rails. De Panne is one end of the line for the Kusttram, the charming yet entirely functional service that runs the length of the Flanders coast. Imagine the entire Manchester Metrolink system stretched out into a single straight line, without neds in Oldham or Rochdale dropping concrete blocks from the over bridges. Add a liberal and unending line of sandy beaches on one side, and a string of thirteen lovely seaside resorts on the other, and you have the 72km-long coastal tram service. It’s definitely one of the hidden treasures of Flanders. Groups of five or more qualify for a cheap ticket - about £1 for an hour’s travel - as long as you stick together. ere’s also an individual ticket that gives access to a number of coastal attractions too, including the Plopsaland amusement park, in De Panne’s Dumont district. It even has its own stop, one before the terminus at Adinkerke (delijn.be/en).

DIKSMUIDE A few kilometres further on, and we arrive in the market town of Diksmuide. Halfway between Ostend and Ypres, it’s famous for its polders, used to drain the farmland where Friesian dairy herds graze contentedly, while obligingly providing the raw materials for the famously smooth Diksmuide butter. You can survey the land from the 22nd floor of the famous 84m tall IJzertoren (IJzer Tower, complete with two capital letters). It is easily the most prominent monument on the le bank of Diksmuide’s river which, you’ll have worked out by now, is named the IJzer. Sadly, those same grazing meadows were also the scene of the battle of the IJzer (late October 1914). ere’s a museum, right here, dedicated to peace, freedom and tolerance. It’s set in the clouds, to poignantly rise above the fog of war (ijzertoren.org).

At the other end of the line, about sixty stops away, lie the twin resorts of Knokke and Heist. Not identical twins you understand. e latter is a little bit of Tudor England built on the Flemish coast. e former, which is more in keeping with the Flemish style, attracted ninetieth century artists in droves. Knokke is an upmarket little town, filled with elegant shops and equally elegant coffee

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OSTEND

ZEEBRUGGE

Back on the coast, VisitFlanders UK head honcho Andrew Daines (remember, he’s the nice man who welcomed us to this supplement) has a bit of a hankering aer one of the other ferry ports, with plenty of culture attached to it, and plenty of British connections too, one of which is of particular interest. “Ostend was home to the Anglo-Belgian surrealist artist James Ensor,” he told us, and went on to say that we’ve something exciting to expect in 2019. “A new state-of-the-art visitor experience incorporating Ensor’s original house will open. e city has plenty more to offer visitors seeking culture of all types, from the award-winning gallery Mu.Zee, to the Crystal Ship street art experience, and a wealth of contemporary, classical and popular live entertainment at the city’s Kursaal.”

Our route from Dover is quick - if you’re coming from Dover. For those who need a little more time to get use to the idea of being away from our island shores, there’s Hull to Zeebrugge. Less waffling about on those British motorways and more waffle ironing on those plazas of Mechelen and Antwerp. Flanders here we come. If you wanted to know that they do things differently in Flanders, you need only roll down the off ramp and gaze at the pleasant surprise of Zeebrugge. “is is as grim as it gets,” says Tom, from our cohort of drivers, and he knows grim when he sees it - he’s from Redcar. “I’ve been coming here for years,” he says. “Before the Costas and cheap air travel, the Flanders coast was the biggest overseas destination for British holidaymakers. So, what we’re doing, is living out a tradition, and, for me, it’s one that we should really get to know all over again.”

ere’s also ‘De Grote Post’ - the old general post office which is now the Cultural Centre for theatre dance and music. We like the“Cultuurcafé” that’s open to casual visitors and, unlike the Dutch-only website, needs no translation (degrotepost.be).

Start that refresher course as soon as you disembark. Any tourists interested in military history should head to Zeebrugge harbour, where you can visit the Russian submarine, Foxtrot. No midget this, at 100 metres long, this Cold War leviathan lets visitors experience how the 75 crew members lived and worked, submerged for months on end, on the cusp of paranoia and ready to deliver nuclear armageddon to the West at the touch of a big red button. It was either that, or get blind drunk on contraband vodka (and then do the armageddon delivering thing).

ere’s almost always a festival on the go in Flanders, and the season starts right here in Ostend in March with the Dead Rat Ball. You don’t have to be dead, and you don’t have to be a rat, but you can have a ball. e season goes full circle around the five provinces, coming back to Ostend at Halloween for a night out scarier than Noel Fielding’s Bake Off wardrobe choices. Don’t miss out either on the Leuven Beer Festival, or the Leuven Short Film Festival in December. You can have a hectic day in the Flanders Christmas markets in almost every town worthy of the name. For seasonal exercise, there are usually outdoor ice rinks in Antwerp, Brussels, and back, once again, in Ostend. Oh, and on a final Ostend note: if you venture north of the Napoleonic Fort, on to Bredene Beach - you might like to be aware that it’s Flanders only nude beach. Just saying…

Above the waves, visit the West-Hinder lightship and get a different taste of salty life. Since you’ve not had enough salt, there’s the former Covered Fish Market, now a vast indoor exhibition called Seafront (seafront.be/en).

BLANKENBERG AND THE PIER INTO THE NORTH SEA e only pier in Flanders is in the pretty town of Blankenberg, and has been popular since its opening in 1894. Like the rest of us, the pier has suffered from age over the years. e Art Nouveau original was burned down for strategic reasons by those naughty Germans in 1914 - much like they torched the library at Leuven. e current 1933 pier has been restored over thirteen years and is now back to its best. Leuven’s books could not be so easily replaced but, then again, you wouldn’t build a pier out of books. For arty types (and there’s nothing wrong with that) here’s a bit of forward planning for your diary. e next Beaufort - and triennial outdoors arts extravaganza - will be in 2021. No details have yet been released about the seventh iteration of the festival, but it’s been growing bigger every time since 2003. Check out what you’ve just missed at www.beaufort2018.be/en.

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COCOA

Geschiedenis, demonstratie en proeven van chocolade History, demonstrating & tasting of chocolate Open daily from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.

www.choco-story.be Wijnzakstraat 2 (Sint-Jansplein) B - 8000 Bruges Tel : +32 (0)50 61 22 37 - info@choco-story.be 11


Bruges

Ana Sun/shutterstock.com

Well, in case you hadn’t guessed, Zeebrugge is only a hop, skip and a jump back on the bus om Bruges. Like Leith is to Edinburgh, or Morecambe is to Wise

You’re simply going to find a bunch of cool stuff in Zeebrugge, and all the World Heritage stuff up in Bruges. Renaissance Flanders in miniature? Perhaps. A totally absorbing visit? Certainly. Check out (visitbruges.be/en). With more canals than Mars, cobbled paths and brick archways, stone churches and hump-backed bridges, you’ll do well not to trip up while gawping at the best-preserved example of a medieval city centre in the world, ever.

experience that right now). For a unique 360° view of the Market Square in Bruges and the Belfort tower as they are today, climb the Historium Tower by the beautiful neogothic stair turret with a height of 30 metres. From here, you will See Bruges from a totally different perspective.e Historium Exhibition is an interactive exhibition with information about Bruges as a flourishing trading town during the Golden Age (15th century). In this period, the port was still located in the centre of Bruges and the ‘Waterhalle’, the central warehouse for sea traders, stood on the site that is now the Historium. You also learn about the customs of medieval Bruges and enjoy the splendid panoramic view of the Market Square and the Belfry. Are you visiting the Historium with your family? If so, you will have a great time on the Family Trail – a trail with wacky hunts and activities, multisensory boxes for smelling and touching, as well as a digital quiz. A cute owl will guide you in solving several Historium mysteries.To round off your visit, why not relax a little in the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café, a Duvel-themed café. Here you can sample some of the best Belgian beers in an authentic setting.ey call it a sensual, invigorating experience that’s an appointment with history. We say check the website (historium.be/en).

How the Flemish are not as wide as the barges that once plied the Bruges canals is a mystery. How the nuns of the famous Beguinage do not indulge to sinful excess is also a mystery. Maybe they take a reverential outing to De Kaarsengieterij, a boutique specialising in hand made and devotional candles. Get really virtual in the Historium, where you can reach out and touch the Golden Age of Bruges and take your team down a time tunnel to medieval Bruges. You’ll be escorted in English using audio guides through themed rooms. You are virtually standing in the middle of historical scenes such as the old port, or master painter Van Eyck’s studio. It is more than seeing and hearing. You step into the past and smell it all too (this page is scratch and sniff so you can

ere’s also the recently opened Lace Musuem (well, four years is recent in medieval Bruges terms), and the recently closed Triennial arts show (next one in 2021). If all that hasn’t satiated your appetite, then there are more high class restaurants, and casual but classy births and eateries per square metre than in any other World Heritage Site. We lied again about the scratch and sniff page, but you tried again, didn’t you?

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kavalenkaushutterstock.com

As befits a medieval trading centre, Bruges is shopping central. You’ll find a plethora of places to swap hard earned cash for much more interesting things, but leave room in your bag for that most famous of exports: chocolate. ere are nearly fiy boutiques devoted to the stuff. Get yourself along to the attraction dedicated to it (choco-story.be/ENG). e museum is all about the alchemy of turning cocoa into chocolate, and the barely credible manifesto to promote the health and quality aspects of Belgian chocolate. ere’s plenty more to see (and eat) with an on-site wine tavern, patisserie, and demonstration.

Away from the central Markt, Zilverpand and Alberthal are more modern shopping malls, and, if you’re aer fish and fleas, there are both regular fish markets and flea markets. If that’s still not ding-dong enough for you, climb the 366 steps to the top of the 83m tall Belfry (one metre less than the 84m tall IJzertoren in Diksmuide but two metres further above sealevel at the base). No mention of Colin Farrell (the mayor doesn’t like to be reminded of In Brugge) as you survey the city. Try to get up at dusk, just as the floodlighting comes on in the canals below. It’s not over yet. e annual mid-summer celebration of early music, MAfestival, at the acoustically splendid Concertgebouw, strikes a chord (MAfestival.be/EN/home).


Ghent, Lochristi and Beervelde park spectacular illuminations, light sculptures, projections and installations by contemporary national and international light artists (lichtfestival.stad.gent/en). We’ve said before, but we’ll reiterate that Ghent is Flanders festival city, and the burgers are doing nothing to dispel that impression. If you’ve not had enough of cultivated flowers, there’s the Ghent Floralies - the next being held in 2021 in late spring. A change of organisation last time saw the festival expanded to take place in venues around the city centre, including the Arts Quarter (that’s Citadel Park), St Peters Square, Leopold Barracks and e Bijloke site. It’s all part of an effort to extend the appeal of the city to outlying areas. Not that anywhere in Ghent is particularly outlying www.floralien.be/en Don’t forget Ghent’s fine arts destination - e Museum voor Schone Kunsten, or simply MSK. Citadelpark in the city's south is home to two further key art museums, the Museum of Fine Arts (mskgent.be) and SMAK, the Museum of Contemporary Art (smak.be). Nor overlook the abbey that’s now a dozen divine delis have got together to offer a heavenly combination of local, organic and high quality food and drink products. Actually, it’s seventeen locations, but that wasn’t’ onomatopoeic enough. We reported the opening a few years ago - now we’re ready for seconds (holyfoodmarket.be). Check out the Patershol district, Ghent’s recognised restaurant quarter, guarded by the 12th-century Castle of the Counts.(sintbaafskathedraal.be/en/visit.html). e Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, the fieenth-century masterpiece of religious art by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, is the jewel in the crown. View it behind glass in a temperature-controlled room. Learn more at visit.(gent.be/en/).

It’s just over an hour’s drive from the heart of Bruges to the heart of the countryside. We’re skirting around Ghent to reach Beervelde Park. We’re on the edge of yet another lovely little Flanders town, Lochristi, which is overly-well stocked with pleasant restaurants, especially up and down Antwerpse Steenweg and the Drop, the wide main street, which is also the N70 national route - so easy to find. It’s soamewhat off the tourist trail (hence the Dutch-only civic website lochristi.be). Now, given that we’ve just driven through some outstandingly well manicured countryside to get there, this is going to have to be something extra special to make the trip worthwhile. at is indeed the case, you’ll be glad to learn. Spread over an area of 25 hectares, Beervelde (which does not translate to Green Beer) is full of stunning architectural features, copses, woodland, meadows, walled gardens and a beautiful reflecting lake, all designed in the English Landscape style. You’ll need to pick your times though. e estate is only open for a weekend in May and again in October, for the bi-annual Beervelde Garden Days, which are a bit like the Chelsea Flower Show, if you will, and attract 20,000 other enthusiasts just like your group. At other times it’s a private hire venue, though it may be possible to organise a bespoke group tour (parkvanbeervelde.be/en/home). ere’s even a railway station on the edge of the park, with trains Monday to Friday. At weekends, a bus runs from Ghent. Meanwhile, back in Ghent, and not to be outdone by short-lived festivals, the city hosts five days (or thereabouts) at the end of January for the Ghent Light Festival. Around half a million visitors (that’s officially: quite a lot) descend on the city centre for a trail of

“The Garden Days of Beervelde”, Beervelde Park is situated near the City of Ghent, only 90 minutes away from Calais, in the very heart of an area famous for its horticulture. Spread over an area of 25 hectares, its stunning architectural features, copses, woodland, meadows, walled gardens and lake, create a splendid unified landscape full of superb views. More information and online tickets sale

www.parkvanbeervelde.be

which hosts some 220 exhibitors and 20,000 visitors twice a year, is one of the most significant ower shows in Europe: a treasure trove for knowledgeable amateur plant lover and a perfect setting for a stunning celebration of horticulture. Beervelde also offers its’ visitors a wide selection of artisan craft items, children’s activities, antiques and local products, thereby ensuring a wonderful day out with family and friends. Some of the magic and freshness that must have invigorated Chelsea in the 1930s still resides here.

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10-11-12 May 2019


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Dendermonde and Antwerp Stop on the way to the big city at the small town of Dendermonde (toerismedendermonde.be/english). e official website has a bit more, mainly in Dutch, but it does feature a picture of a man blowing on a huge horn between his legs, and some young bathers who are so peelywally they must be visiting from Scotland. Go on - you’re dying to see for yourselves. is market town, complete with obligatory Grote Markt, has plenty to see. e Church of Our Lady has two notable paintings by Anthony Van Dyck. is year, the béguinage celebrated the twentieth anniversary of inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next year, e city hall and belfry will do the same. e belfry features a carillon - that uniquely Flemish medieval heavy metal instrument, which can be heard all over the town. One unusual reason to stop is for the Dendermonde Steam Railway (stoomtrein.be/en). Not nearly as widespread as the heritage railway community in the UK, a historic steam train on the Continent is a rarity. Finding this one is a real treat, along all of it’s fourteen kilometre run to neighbouring Puurs, which is famous for its brewery and … asparagus. We thought about doing the scratch and sniff gag again, but decided we’d be pushing our luck. For real though is the new aroma of Antwerp. “Ahh. Smell that lovely, clean, city centre air!” Yes, it’s true. Antwerp has gone from phew to pure in a little over a year. Now, to us Brits, the thought of Antwerp as an air polluted place is met with a scoff of disbelief. “You’re joking, pet?” Says Brenda from Salford, who should know a thing or two about industrial pollution and the odd pong from fly tips and tyre dumps, burning deep into the night. Antwerp on the other hand, has always had the aroma of an attenuated chocolatier, with overtones of gently ironed waffle. However, as a city that’s always set the trends, be they in fashion, design, or confectionary perfection, Antwerp is blazing a trail for low emissions in Flanders. “Well, maybe it should apply to those cargo ships as well,” says driver Tom, whose rope and anchor tattoo gives away his seafaring past. “Still, our good ship of the road has all the right filters and we’re already registered. Even if we weren’t, we’ve got twenty-four hours from entering the Low Emissions Zone to go on line and do the necessary.” Not that there’s any xenophobia here. Belgian and Dutch number plates get you an exemption from registering, but not from complying. ey’re strict too. It’s only because it actually contravened the emissions regulations that the authorities have stopped from taking drivers of noncompliant vehicles and burning them at the stake. If you don’t want to go to meet your maker like a medieval monk on the wrong side of the inquisition, better check out

(slimnaarantwerpen.be) - or see if ierry Boutsen will lend you one of his old Nomex racing suits (an extra fire resistant one). ere’s a similar regulation in Brussels, so you may also need to visit lez-belgium.de where you also can easily apply for registration. Beautiful Antwerp. A port city like no other. Pivotal for trade, commerce, and war. Coveted by both the Allies and the Nazis in the last desperate months of the Second World War, it has survived and thrived down the centuries. ere’s the fabulous Centraal Station, glittering as brightly as any of the diamonds in the adjacent trading quarter, and as impressive a welcome as might be expected from such an important gateway to the world. Of them all, the largest diamond showroom in Antwerp is DiamondLand (diamondland.be). Just jump off the train at Centraal, or nip round aer a spot of trading on the Bourse, and you’re almost there. e “Diamonds & Sparkles” experience is designed for corporate guests, but your group can get a free tour of their 1000 square metre workshops just by registering. Also, as Andrew Daines recommends, check out DIVA, the museum of Antwerp’s diamond and silver trade. A sparking, fascinating and not always glamourous story (divaantwerp.be). ere’s more than diamonds and silver of course. Antwerp is among the top fashion capitals in the world. So if you’re on trend, this is the place to be. From the famed zoo, to the delights of a vibrant nightlife, Antwerp is a city of culture and contrast. From fine dining to fast food, the city does everything with style. Try it for yourself. Aer a lunch of superb Belgian fries with a choice of toppings at Frituur on Hoogstraat, develop a taste for waffles topped with whipped cream and ice cream at Désiré de Lille – with branches on Schrijnwerkersstraat and Schoenmarkt. at’s just for starters. Late June is Beer Passion weekend in Antwerp. Around 40 breweries gather on the Groenplaats, one of the most beautiful squares in Antwerp, to present around 200 exquisite beers to savour. Try them all and Groneplaats will not only be beautiful, it’ll be your best mate, ever. I just want you to know that (beerpassion.com). Antwerp’s most celebrated past resident, Pieter Paul Rubens, one of the most prolific Baroque artists. e “Rubens' Walk” – backed up with a booklet from the Tourist Office on the Grote Markt, helps visitors see how the master lived. For a more spiritual experience, Antwerp's Cathedral of Our Lady, completed in 1521, is still a landmark. Rubens masterpiece, the triptych e Descent From the Cross (1612), is best among the art collection within.

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Dendermonde, Bayard Steed Town Attractive offers for groups! Tourist Office Stadhuis - Grote Markt 9200 Dendermonde Belgium +32 (0)52 21 39 56 toerisme@dendermonde.be www.toerismedendermonde.be


most striking new addition. More futuristic than classical, it is nevertheless perfectly proportioned. Rubens would approve, especially on a pre-arranged group tour. In fact, port tours in general are popular, with or without guides, with or without a boat even. Check in at the Lillo Port Centre for arrangements (portofantwerp.com/en/port-centre-lillo).

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e city’s trading position relies on its waterway. e view over the River Scheide is much as Rubens would know it - no bridges. ere are only two vehicle tunnels and, in the middle, a 400-metre long pedestrian tunnel that’s a subterranean adventure of endless glazed tiling. Above ground, the Zaha Hadid studio designed Port House is the

Discover the secrets of diamond polishing during a free guided tour

GROUP BOOKINGS info@diamondland.be • +32 (0)3 369 07 80 Opening hours: Mon - Sat 9:30 – 17:00 www.diamondland.be

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Turnhout, Hasselt and Genk If we were to take a long, lazy road trip east from Antwerp, we could swing through the splendid countryside of the Antwerpse Kempen, by way of the superb E34 road, and arrive at Turnhout, the "the capital of the Kempen”. Quintessentially off the beaten track, your group, like ours, could immerse themselves in modern Flemish culture, and take in a few less visited sights as well. Conquer the moat around the twelh-century castle of the Dukes of Brabant, before visiting the gothic church of St. Peter, and the beguinage (also known as the begijnhof ) dating from the thirteenth-century, and an inscribed World Heritage site of course, the fourteenthcentury gothic chapel of eobald, and the Taxandria local history museum which occupies a rather delightful Renaissance mansion. It’s only open in the aernoons, but a combination ticket will let you stroll between here, the beguinage, and the totally unique National Museum of Playing Cards, where the main attraction might actually be the building itself and the restored steam engine within. In your EyeSpy book of Turnhout, be sure to tick off the layer-cake facade of the railway station, the town hall, the chapel, and the municipal water tower. Sit yourselves down in the universally applauded Stadscafe, on the corner of the market square.

long you spend here, it won’t be enough. en there is probably the most important reason for coming in the first place: the museum of gin. Alright, that’s underplaying the attraction somewhat, and, as Andrew Daines said earlier, we have the World of Bruegel exhibition to enjoy from April 2019. Hasselt’s fame is founded in the production of flavoured gins, typically spiced with juniper berries, and now widely known as Jenever. e popularity of the tipple has spread across the whole of the Low Countries. e town’s museum is dedicated to its history, where you can learn much about the popularity – as if you couldn’t work that out for yourself. ere’s even a festival of gin (hurrah!) and music fans will know the region for the annual Pukklepop festival of mud and music and more mud (visithasselt.be/en). Christian Mueller shutterstock.com

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Onwards then through the least populated parts of Flanders. It’s a good hour by coach to Hasselt, a town in the far east of the region, divided in half by the mighty Albert Ship Canal, and divided from its larger neighbour Genk, by the green and pleasant land of Bokrijk Park (bokrijk.be/en). Genk is the place that Max Verstappen calls home, but don’t expect to be doing any Formula One speeds around town. It’s a little more laid back than that. Instead, head at a leisurely pace for Bokrijk, and check out the tranquility of the Japanese Gardens, the swathe of 150 medieval buildings, a cool 30,000 exhibits of everyday life, dating from the seventeenth century right up to 1950, and all populated by costumed living history guides. However

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Leuven and Mechelen We’re on our way again, heading back west, through the beautiful university city of Leuven. Only twenty minutes from Brussels, cheaper hotels and easier to reach from the airport. Oh, and 100 breweries at the last count. So, have we got time to stop here? You bet. e heart of the old city is manageable, and filled with great buildings and attractions. Remnants of the old fortifications can be found in the Sint Donatuspark, just one of the pleasant green spaces frequented by the citizens. e eighteenth-century Botanic Gardens on the west of the city centre represent an exceptional public legacy. Obviously, there’s another beguinage, obviously. e beguinage district is an easy stroll to the south of city centre, still within the original medieval ring. e enclave, which is over 700 years old is now used mainly for university accommodation but these quaint houses were once the sole preserve of the eponymous female religious order – the Beguines – who lived a life of piety but did not take the perpetual vows of traditional nuns. A bit like a habit without a habit, as it were (visitleuven.be/en). We could carry on, straight into Brussels, but let’s not. For now, we’re detouring to the capital of the Burgundian Netherlands, the lovely city of Mechelen, since we’ve an appointment with the Museum Hof van Busleyden.

Elsewhere in the cathedral carillon city, Mechelen is very good value for accommodation, and should be considered as a base for touring operations. With most tourists heading straight for the bigger neighbours, you can enjoy preferential rates in superb surroundings for your group. ere’s plenty to do as well. e city boasts around 1300 shops and stores – all within an easily managed centre. It’s a stunningly colourful city, with thousands of blooms, including over 1000 species of roses and more than 300 species of dahlias at the Vrijbroekpark. For hands-on enthusiasts, there are 260 interactive experiments at the Technopolis Science Centre (technopolis.be). Check out also the renowned zoo, toy museum and thirtieth-century Brusselspoort, the last remaining example of the city’s medieval gates. Saint Rumbold’s Cathedral, with its unfinished tower, remains the defining symbol of Mechelen. e massive carillon within has 49 bells - and no volume control. e cathedral is also the repose of some masterpieces of classic art, including a crucifixion by Anthony Van Dyck; a series of 25 panels from the fieenth and sixteenth centuries. ere’s more at toerisme.(mechelen.be/en).

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Step into this Renaissance palace in the very centre of Mechelen, within earshot of the cathedral’s carillon bells, and follow in the philosophical footsteps of Hiëronymus van Busleyden, Margaret of Austria, Erasmus and

England’s own catholic martyr omas More. A museum for all seasons, Hof van Busleyden delves deep into Burgundian history, about the rich history of Mechelen, steeped in power, politics and Renaissance crasmanship. Oh, and check out the enclosed gardens as well. It’s enough to make omas More say: “You know what, Henry, just carry on, all this divorce thing is a bit of a storm in a teacup really.”

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Brussels Now, here’s something that will appeal to 48% of all British groups (62% if they’re from Scotland): a visit the European Parliament. Mention Brussels and, no matter how well read you are, there’s only one image that’s going to jump to mind. We’ll wager it’s not a plate of sprouts. “Visiting the European Parliament is a great way to find out about its work as the voice of European Union citizens, and about the impact it makes across both Europe and the world,” said a spokesperson, in 24 different languages (soon to be 23, apparently). Now, we’ll not claim to be entirely on top of all the complexities of the various bodies that make up “Brussels”. Aer all, it’s a French enclave in the middle of Flanders, so all that Dutch that you so painfully cribbed prior to arrival will do for nought - or ‘rien de rien’ as they say round here. Still, you can clear all that up with a precursive visit to Station Europe - where your group can be put on the right road to the Hemicycle, the Parlamentarium, the House of European History, and any of the other buildings, institutions and sites of the European Union. Most likely, you’ll be off to the Parlamentarium for starters. e European Union can be a tough nut to crack but the Parlamentarium and its high-tech interactive adventure breaks it into bite-sized pieces. Our multilingual guide told us there’s a multimedia guide to accompany visitors as they follow the building of today’s Europe. “See how they can affect law making in a 360° cinema,” crooned Euroguide in Croatian and Italian. “Travel the continent on a giant interactive map and discover how the European Union impacts their daily life,” they said in German and Danish. “It’s open seven days a week and a visit normally takes around 90 minutes, with shorter tours available if you’re in a hurry to leave. Advance booking is strongly recommended for groups especially before March 2019. Admission is free of charge, it just costs £38bn to leave (europarl.europa.eu/visiting/en/). If that’s all too much, there’s a back door that leads straight into Leopold Park… Another spectacular Brussels park lies just east of the European Quarter. Parc du Cinquantenaire (French for Park of the Fiieth Anniversary, of Belgian independence, since you ask), and also known as Jubelpark in Dutch ( Jubilee Park) is a vast and stunning planned open space, surmounted by a classical collection of buildings in a U-shaped terrace. ere’s no difficulty getting here. Line 1 of the Brussels

Metro passes underneath the park, and there are stations at either end (Schuman and Mérode). Originally built to house a national exhibiiton, they have subsequently become home to an eclectic mix of permanent displays. Most prominent is the Royal Military Museum, which occupies fully one half of the complex. e other half is shared between the Jubelpark / Cinquantenaire Museum and our intended destination: Autoworld (which isn’t a homage to Bart Simpsons’ school bus driver). Autoworld claims to be more than a museum, but that still doesn’t mean you can get your MOT done. What it does promise, is a guided tour through the history of the motorcar, with a ‘pitstop’ to admire the exhibits. Well worth an hour and a half of any petrolhead’s time, and for groups larger than a minibus worth worth, the tariff is 7€ per person. You’ll need a guide for every 30 persons and, such is the demand, you’ll need to book a week in advance (autoworld.be). Almost as old as the vintage exhibits in Autoworld, there’s the unmistakable symbol of Brussels and Belgium since the 1958 World Expo. e Atomium remains today the most popular attraction in the self-styled Capital of Europe. Feel like a quark as you wander through the tubes and spheres of the permanent exhibition. e upper sphere offers spectacular views of the city of Brussels and a private restaurant (Booking is required on +32 496/10.58.58). Down at ground level, Mini-Europe lets your group of giants stride around the most beautiful towns of the old Continent. Big Ben is more Little Ben (and still works). You’re encouraged not to race the TGV from petit-Paris to micro-Marseille: you’ll beat it. You are encouraged however to make Vesuvius erupt. You can make the Berlin Wall fall (again and again), make a bull fight in Seville (which they don’t do anymore). You can supervise the blast off for an Ariane rocket, or whirl a more leisurely windmill in Amsterdamette (minieurope.com). Hit Brussels in September, and sample the annual Design show, with a range of exhibitions, fairs, special shops, conferences and design awards. Draw up your plans at designseptember.be. A quick dra of Brussels other top attractions include the Manneken Pis - a representation of a young Glaswegian tourist (a joke never grows old for an Edinburgh-born supplements editor). Check out the Royal Greenhouses in full summer blooms; the Royal Palace of course; and Grand Palace Square.

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Meanwhile, less than thirty-minutes from the downtown lights and away from the political Schengen shenanigans of the European Quarter, lies Anderlecht. Once down at heel and known only for its highly successful football club, the huge western suburb now tops the league for swanky regeneration. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had enough of the crowds and prices on Avenue Louise, get out to the Westland Shopping Mall for a more realistic retail experience. Grab a coďŹ&#x20AC;ee in the above average eateries, and relax into a bit of bargain hunting that even David Dickinson would enjoy (westlandshopping.be). What else would take you a municipality that suďŹ&#x20AC;ers from a twinning with Hammersmith and Fulham? Well, the sights are pretty old. In fact, very old. î&#x201A;&#x160;e Collegial Church of Saint Peter and Saint Guido on the northern side of the main Place de la Vaillance, contains the grave of the eleventh-century saint Guy of Anderlecht. Guess which town is named aî&#x2020;?er him. î&#x201A;&#x160;e Romanesque crypt is almost one thousand years old, and is reputed to contain the original engineering drawings for the Pacer train used by Northern Rail. Needless to say, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a beguinage, which is now home to Anderlechtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local history museum. Since the French get all the credit, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth visiting the National Museum of the Resistance, which traces the history of the Belgian deďŹ ance in the face of Nazi occupation during World War Two. î&#x201A;&#x160;ereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plenty more on the Musuem front - such as a Chinese themed one; the cellars that hosted 'Body Worlds' by Gunther Von Hagens back in 2008-9; the Museum of Medicine on the Erasmus campus of the university, and the Cantillon museum established in an actual working brewery.

Yes, thought that last one would get your attention, so hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a link: (cantillon.be). Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht is the most successful Belgian football team in European competitions. No, seriously. Five trophies, and they pretty much own the Belgian league. Tickets are scarce at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium located within the Astrid Park, especially for the visits of Wallonian rivals Standard (Liege) or the big Flemish grudge match with Club Bruges. If you get your kicks oďŹ&#x20AC; the pitch, head for Gaasbeek Castle on the Renaissance Masters trail, just outside Anderlecht. As Andrew Daines told us in his foreword; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the setting for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Feast of Foolsâ&#x20AC;? Renaissance art exhibition for the next two years. Even without added art, the castle is a splendid group visit (kasteelvangaasbeek.be/en). î&#x201A;&#x160;ere are dining options all through the day too, so go Dutch Masters with your best mate for a plate and a paint. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a few kilometres further to Chateau Grand Bigard, another of the treasures of the Brabant region. î&#x201A;&#x160;e castle, in the village of Grand Bigard (Groot-Bijgaarden) is just seven kilometres from Brussels. It is surrounded by a large moat which, today, is less defensive and more reďŹ&#x201A;ective. Call ahead for groups and the drawbridge will be down. Check out the ďŹ ve arch bridge with the ornamental lions. î&#x201A;&#x160;e castle is also the venue for Floralia Brussels 2019 from 6 April to 5 May (ďŹ&#x201A;oralia-brussels.be/en). If itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all too much and you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t decide, the answer is the Brussels Card, at around a euro an hour for 24 hours. Find out more about this, and about Brussels in general at visit.(brussels/en/sites/brusselscard/).

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M O R E

T H A N

AUTOWORLD MUSEUM BRUSSELS Parc du Cinquantenaire 11, 1000 Brussels Metro Merode, Tel +32 2 736 41 65 Open all days 10h - 17h, week-end 10h - 18h info@autoworld.be, www.autoworld.be VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO DISCOVER OUR NEXT EXHIBITIONS

A

M U S E U M


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Discover Europe’s nicest places ...

All of Europe animated in miniature! Spectacular! Be amazed. Mini-Europe is a park planted with trees at the gates of Brussels where all the wonders of Europe are exhibited in miniature versions between bonsai trees, flowery groves and dwarf trees. 350 monuments and animations meticulously reproduced in the finest detail to a scale of 1:25, thousands of figurines and live action models that look like the real thing! A two-hour walk, that is both entertaining and educational, to learn about 28 member states of the European Union and the historical, architectural and cultural wealth of Europe.

Fun! A trip full of surprises. take the controls of the many opportunities for interactive live action that stud the route.

Fascinating! Have fun learning! Behind the captivating universe of the miniature monuments, the dramatisation and live action, relive our surprising common history with its values and Greek, Roman, Viking’s heritages. … You will find commentary at every stage of the journey in the free catalogue that is teeming with information and anecdotes that will delight children, those with a sense of curiosity and those passionate about history.

Did you know? Unrivalled quality of artistry The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela alone involved 24,000 hours of work. At 13 meters, the Eiffel Tower is taller than a 3-storey building.

Indoor space. Located at the end of the Park visit, ‘Spirit of Europe’ welcomes you into a large covered space where live action models, games and quizzes will give you the chance to test, enrich or perfect your knowledge of the 28 member states of the European Union.

Open every day from mid March till begin of January from 9:30 am till 05:00 pm. Open By Night with musical firework the 3 first Saturdays in August. Catalogue available in 11 languages (D, E, F, EN, I, NL, HB, RU, PL, PT, CN). Restaurant - cafetaria.

MINI-EUROPE Bruparck, B-1020 Brussels Tel.: +32 (0)2/474.13.13. - Fax: +32 (0)2/478.26.75 http://www.minieurope.eu - Email: info@minieurope.eu

Fascinating presentation for everyone, not to be missed during your stay in the capital of Europe !


OUDENAARDE

THE BATTLEFIELDS

Keep going west from Anderlecht and, before long, you’ll happen upon Oudenaarde. Lying south of Ghent on the le bank (in Dutch that’s Linkeroever) of the river Scheldt is a true community of art. Check out the Gothic revival styled City Hall; the Huis De Lalaing with the Tapestries of Oudenaarde; the Church of Pamele; the Beguinage and the Castle of Liedts. If you are a fan of cycle racing, the unique museum, within the Tour of Flanders Centre, is definitely worth a visit. If that’s not enough for the mamil in you, there’s a further cyclingthemed attraction in nearby Roeselare. Aer a closure lasting three years, the Wielermuseum has reopened and been renamed as Koers. Saddle up at koersmuseum.be.

If only Keiser Willhem and his cousins had got together over a decent Flanders beer, all that fighting might have been avoided. However, it was not to be, and the Great War turned out to be greater than anything before or since. We’re deep in the heart of the fighting here, tracing the Western Front with each step. e In Flanders' Fields Museum is the place to start of course, and right in the place most synonymous with the War: Ypres. e splendour of the setting - the Cloth Hall on the market square - defies the horror witnessed here. Totally razed in the repeated bombardments, Ypres and the Hall have been lovingly rebuilt.

Whether on a bike or not, make a getaway from it all in the rural municipality of Heuvelland. ere’s something here that most of Flanders envies. e clue is in the Dutch name meaning "hill country". e area is interconnected by charming villages, and bounded by Ypres, Poperinge and the bigger metropolitan area of Kortrijk-Lille, which straddles the French border and connects with Eurostar services. Call in and say hello to the friendly and helpful staff at the visitor centre for the region. You’ll find it in the village of Kemmel, well signposted (toerismeheuvelland.be). Park days are all the rage at Bellewaerde, near Ypres. Groups young and old are encouraged to spend the day at a mix of attractions, all set within a beautiful nature reserve. ere are over 30 thrill rides, and over 300 exotic animals including delightful Amur leopards - who specialise in a “are you for lunch?” look to visitors. No you’re not - but you can have lunch in any of the 18 restaurants, bars and shops on site. Pre-booked groups of 20 or more qualify for discounts (bellewaerde.be/en/groups).

e museum does not set out to glorify war, but to suggest its futility, particularly as seen in the West Flanders front. e personal stories of how the First World War affected the lives of individuals of many nationalities are told through the many objects on display, interactive installations and lifelike characters. e displays include medical equipment, gas masks, and a mule and munitions wagon exhibit. emes of the consequences of war, how we look into our past, and how and why we remember are all explored. It is, to say the least, moving (inflandersfields.be/en). It’s a particularly poignant visit in the centenary of the ceasefire in 2018, and the armistice signing in 2019. Among the recent additions to the remembrance litany, is the Waregem visitor centre dedicated to the role of the Americans in the War, and a parallel exhibition documenting the contribution of war horses during the conflict. e apparently incongruous connection stems from Waregem’s equestrian heritage, and the fact that so many US troops who fell are laid to rest in city’s American Cemetery. Waregem lies halfway between modern Kortrijk and Ghent (hippowar.be). e annual horse trials are among the biggest on the Continent (eventingwaregem.be).

ROESELARE HAS A BEER CASTLE Never mind all that cycling stuff. Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck uses the latest technology to preserve its family character. e site is actually four breweries in one. ‘Het Bierkasteel’, as they like to be known, is the name of their new brewing complex in Izegem, a settlement just south of Roeselare. e prospect of a delicious specialty beer, with a homemade meal on the side, attracts over 50,000 visitors a year. Your group could be among them www.bierkasteel.be

Ypres, despite it’s relatively small size, is writ larger than any other name in the theatre of conflict in the Great War. You cannot help but visit the massive Menin Gate, but do try to be there for the 8pm Last Post. All around, the fields and towns are dotted with memorials, cemeteries and museums. e region though has much more heritage

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TALBOT HOUSE EVERY MAN’S CLUB Gasthuisstraat 43 I B-8970 Poperinge I Belgium I tel +32 57 333 228 & +44 2035 149 826 I info@talbothouse.be SLEEP @ THE MUSEUM Contact us for more information on staying at Talbot House. The museum is open daily between 10am & 5.30pm & closed on Mondays. (last admittance 4.30pm)

www.talbothouse.be

During the Great War, the army chaplains Neville Talbot and Philip “Tubby” Clayton opened a club in a house they rented in Poperinge. For more than three years, the house provided rest and recreation to all soldiers who came in. Rank and status were left at the front door, which allowed the tired men to forget about the war for a little while. Unlike many of the other dubious clubs and cafés in Poperinge at that time (the town was often called ‘Little Paris’ for a reason), Talbot House became a beacon of rest and tranquility.

EXPLORE THE EXHIBITION ON LIFE BEHIND THE LINES Today the House is a welcoming and friendly stop in Flanders Fields. Explore the house and learn about its stories, watch an authentic performance from World War One in the concert hall, enjoy the atmosphere in the well maintained garden and explore the exhibition on life behind the lines. You can even spend the night at the museum in one of our guest rooms.

TALBOT HOUSE 1915 - ?

EVERY MAN’S CLUB POPERINGE - BELGIUM

Let a British soldier and a Belgian girl from the Great War take you back in time to Talbot House as they used to know it.

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On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the House, a special rose is being sold. The “Talbot House Rose”, bred and cultivated for the old House, is for sale via our website and in our museum shop.


to its name, with the magnificent Cloth Hall a huge clue to that. Not surprisingly, brewing too plays a part in this rural landscape. So you need not go far to find a pleasant repast with hospitality to suit an entire group (toerismeieper.be/en/).

It’s still the same "Every Man’s Club" it was a hundred years ago (talbothouse.be/en/).

HEUVELLAND AND TALBOT HOUSE Around the region, there’s much more to see. e municipality of Heuvelland (Hill Country) is the most beautiful part of West Flanders - say the 9,000 or so denizens. Despite their proximity to France, the Flemish culture is to the fore, and the village names reflect that: Dranouter, Kemmel, De Klijte, Loker, Nieuwkerke, Westouter, Wijtschate and Wulvergem. Each as pretty as the next. artjazz shutterstock.com

To the west lies the slightly larger settlement of Poperinge. Here, in this tiny part of unoccupied Flanders, you’ll find Talbot House - Toc H. Popularised as an unofficial rest station, where rank was forgotten, Today, carrying on the tradition, Toc H offers a welcoming and friendly stop in Flanders fields. e house is still used on a daily basis. You can play the piano in the old canteen, relax with a cup of tea or even spend the night in one of the guest rooms.

More than ever, Ypres and the Westhoek have become a meeting place where people come to explore the history of their ancestors or native country. Where they can reflect both on history with a capital H and the many little yet grand # PERSONAL STORIES of soldiers and civilians. At the In Flanders Fields Museum lifelike characters and # INTERACTIVE INSTALLATIONS confront the contemporary visitor with his fellow man in the war that took place a century ago. As it is, the museum not only becomes a place of meeting, but of exchange as well. A place where the story of a hundred years ago is still being written... and shared, even today.

YPRES

SHARING HISTORY

# GATEWAY TO WWI IN FLANDERS

# PERSONAL STORIES # COMMEMORATION

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CLOTH HALL GROTE MARKT 34 B 8900 YPRES BELGIUM

WWW.INFLANDERSFIELDS.BE


HEUVELLAND VISITORS CENTRE Just 6 miles away from Ypres, you’ll nd our new, kids-friendly visitors centre! Here you can nd out everything you need to know about the landscape surrounding the Kemmelberg and its many sights of interest, both great and small. Dozens of atmospheric images and plenty of tourist info will help to set you on your way to a truly memorable holiday experience. The visitors centre is an ideal rst stop on your voyage of discovery through Heuvelland. You can also enjoy a varied range of exhibitions for free!

VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO DISCOVER OUR NEXT EXHIBITIONS: www.tourismheuvelland.be

FOR MORE INFORMATION & PRICES CHECK OUR WEBSITE: www.tourismheuvelland.be Tickets Bayernwald & Command Bunker: available at the visitors centre ‘Het Heuvelland’ Visitors Centre ‘Het Heuvelland’: Sint-Laurentiusplein 1 – B-8950 Kemmel T. 0032 57 45 04 55 – toerisme@heuvelland.be – www.tourismheuvelland.be


Getting back to Blighty From our adventure to Flanders, we took a new perspective on old traditions (the British abroad on the Flemish seaside resorts); a retrospective on Bruges and all its ancient past (no mention of the film); a thrill on Antwerp’s bustling port (diamonds are forever); kilometre aer kilometre of manicured countryside and woodlands; a whole collection of lovely little towns (and all of them away from the usual tourist destinations); the vibrancy of Leuven’s student culture (and the breweries of course); Mechelen’s historic past (it’s still quite a little duchy); the futuristic outlook for Brussels; explored Anderlecht and found more than a football club; found a castle and a museum with beer attached (and learned about flavoured gin); and relived the tragedy of the Great War in the battlefields and cemeteries, before finding ourselves back at the coast. We truly were flat out in Flanders, and can’t wait to be back again.

So, here’s where our road trip ends. Almost back where we started. Except instead of going over the waves, we’re going under them. Our not very amphibious coach fits snugly onboard LeShuttle and, in a quick, dark, trice, rather like all the affairs of our courier Nigel - the thrill is over almost before it’s begun. From the Pas de Calais to the Garden of England in about 35 minutes, every day of the year (and round the clock too). Check in by checking out eurotunnel.com.

Eaccent1 shutterstock.com

Some of our party chose to make their own way, by way of Brussels and the spanking new Eurostar train, but we enjoyed a few more days in the Flanders countryside, and the delights of a traffic jam of 2CVs and tractors on the French side of the border. We didn’t work out what the dispute was about and, frankly, ever since that Agincourt thing, we’ve not been too bothered. Once at Frethune, boarding was a breeze, and before we knew it, we were gliding away for a smooth ride home.

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E.R./V.U. : Anthony R. Martin • rue du Cerf 191 • 1332 Genval • BELGIUM I Sweet Globe XVIII

VISITS • SEMINARS • BANQUETS • RECEPTIONS

BROUWERIJ - BRUGGE

BREWERY IN THE HEART OF THE CITY Meet the brewer and discover the process of beer blending !

Visit the brewery Every day 10h to 18h (except Monday) Kartuizerinnenstraat 6 • 8000 Brugge only 80m from the belfry

Beer brewed carefully, to be consumed with care.

bourgognedesflandres.be


Flanders Guide 2018-19  
Flanders Guide 2018-19  
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